8 tips for efficient cooking
There are some very easy ways to cook more efficiently this autumn
For many of us, keeping energy bills as low as possible is a priority this year. Whilst trying to keep energy bills as low as possible, many households struggle when it comes to cooking. Every month cooking can swallow a big chunk of the average household’s heating oil usage.
While oil-fired cooking units and AGA cookers are becoming increasingly energy efficient, a four-oven cooker-only AGA can use as much as 2,650 litres of heating oil annually. While having the right energy supply is important, inefficient cooking practices can also add to the household bills.
Thankfully, there are a few different ways that you can keep your costs down. From changing what you use to heat your food to keeping your cookers well maintained, here are some energy-efficient ways to cook this season.
- Prepare your food
Even newer, more energy-efficient cookers can still prove to be a drain on your energy bills, so thinking about how you cook can make a difference. Letting frozen food defrost naturally and fully is one way to reduce cooking time. Anything that allows you to turn off your kitchen appliances just that little bit earlier can make a difference over time.
- Choose the microwave
When it comes to reheating food, a microwave can be more energy efficient than an oven. In fact, re-heating your food using a microwave can save you as much as That means you can make the most of your cooker’s energy by batch cooking, knowing you can reheat it simply and for a low cost later.
- Use the right equipment
There are plenty of specially designed tools for all your cooking needs. And using the right tools can save you some money. Ensure you have the right-sized utensils for your cooking needs; research has shown that when you’re using a six-inch pan to cook on an eight-inch burner, more than 40% of the heat will be wasted. Having the lids and covers that fit your pots and pans will help bring water to boil quicker and help your food cook quicker as well. Suitable kitchen utensils might not be one of the more obvious ways to save energy, but these small changes can make a difference and lead to some handy savings.
- Use water efficiently
Heating water can take a lot of time and it uses up heating oil during the process. Where possible, you should only look to boil as much as you need. And, rather than boiling the water in a pan, consider boiling your water in a kettle.
- Save heat
As your food is cooking, turn down the heat ten minutes before you serve the food. While the heat has been turned down, your food will continue to cook albeit at a lower temperature. This will keep your food simmering so that in a short while, it will be ready to eat, just as it would have been on a higher heat.
- Maintain your oil-fired cookers
Besides changing some of your cooking methods, even simply keeping your oil-fired cookers clean and degreased can be a smart move. Small spots of grease can absorb heat, meaning you’ll need to keep your cookers on for longer.
And for that matter, when there’s something cooking in the oven, try to keep the oven door closed. When you open the oven door to see if something is ready, your oven can lose as much as 150 degrees Celsius worth of heat in only 30 seconds. You’ll probably even need to allow for additional cooking time as a result.
- Apply door seals
As with everything else in your kitchen, age will eventually start to take its toll on your cookers. Over time, they will need servicing and it may even be worth retrofitting them to make them just that little bit more energy efficient.
For example, doors that aren’t sealed will, over time start, to contribute toward energy leakage, so you may want to install additional door sealing to keep the heat in. There are a number of different sealing options available but in almost all cases, seals are an affordable, tried-and-tested way of retaining heat. And if your oven is designed to draw in air, there are three-sided door seals to cater to your needs too.
- Service your oven
Finally, it’s important to keep your cookers and ovens serviced on a bi-annual basis. Ovens can develop defects and flaws, not all of which will be immediately obvious, so having an expert on-hand to review and service your cooking appliances is a good way to nip any potential problems in the bud.
Cooking doesn’t need to cost the world
Whether we love it or loathe it, cooking and warming food is likely to be a central part of daily life in our households. By making a few small changes to how you cook and by looking after your oven, you could start to see some considerable savings in your energy.
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